Oklahoma City, OK – Kevin Durant scored 35 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder survived a scare from the upset-minded New Orleans Hornets in a 92-88 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder overcame a double-digit deficit by shooting 57 percent (20-of-35) from the field in the second half. They have won nine straight games, the club's longest streak since taking nine in a row from Jan. 29-Feb. 21, 2010.
Kevin Martin chipped in 17 points off the bench, while Russell Westbrook netted 14 despite 4-of-14 shooting to go with nine assists in the victory.
Greivis Vasquez missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds to send New Orleans to a fifth straight loss. Brian Roberts and Ryan Anderson led the Hornets with 16 and 14 points, respectively.
"I thought we brought an edge," Hornets head coach Monty Williams said. "Obviously we lost the game, but when we compete that way and keep our turnovers down, you give yourselves a chance."
There were five lead changes in an entertaining fourth quarter, the last coming when Martin drained a 3-pointer for a 73-72 Thunder edge with 6:21 remaining.
Westbrook added another long-range make a little later, and Nick Collison's layup on the next possession gave Oklahoma City an 86-80 cushion with 2:05 to play.
Four straight free throws from New Orleans' Anthony Davis made it a one- possession game at 86-84, but Durant provided a little breathing room with a three-point play. Anderson missed from the perimeter with under a minute remaining, and after Durant was off the mark, Davis went to the line again with 18.2 seconds on the clock.
The rookie made the first and missed the second, but Roberts came away with rebound and hit a 3-pointer with nine ticks left to pull the Hornets within one.
Durant then only made 1-of-2 from the line for a 90-88 game, but Vasquez's contested trey from the left side hit all iron, and the Thunder grabbed the rebound and the hard-fought win.
"We got aggressive and I thought we passed the ball much better, but we were making shots. It was just a combination of a few things. Our defensive intensity picked up," Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said of his team's play in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets held the high-octane Thunder to a meager 31 percent shooting in the first half. The unusual cold stretch had the hosts trailing by two, 19-17, after the first quarter and by eight, 44-36, at intermission.
Oklahoma City finally got rolling late in the third quarter by scoring the final seven points, with Reggie Jackson's 3-pointer cutting the deficit to 62-58 entering the fourth.
Martin's trey 2 1/2 minutes into the final stanza gave the Thunder their first lead of the second half at 65-64, and it stayed tight the rest of the way.
The Thunder lead the season series, 3-0, and have won seven straight meetings with New Orleans ... Oklahoma City had scored over 100 points in 12 straight games ... Davis totaled 11 points and four rebounds in 28 minutes in his second game since coming back from a stress reaction in his left ankle ... The Thunder outscored the Hornets at the foul line, 25-13.